One of the best films of 2013 hit Netflix today. J.C. Chandor’s “All Is Lost” is far removed from his talky debut “Margin Call,” but both films have the same meticulous depiction of process in the middle of disaster. The film stars Robert Redford as a man whose boat crashes into a stray shipping container. Alone and with a broken radio, Redford struggles to survive a sinking ship, storms, and a diminishing food and water supply. The near-wordless performance is one of Redford’s finest, and the film’s central theme of how we deal with the inevitability of death, whether it’s to come now or a little later, is supremely moving.
Those looking for something a little lighter can hang with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in the goofball classic “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” as they travel through time to meet Abraham Lincoln, Socrates, Beethoven and more. Other viewers might be more interested in checking out Roger Michell’s “Le Week-End,” about an elderly couple (Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan) trying to rediscover love in Paris, or Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister,” about a man (Mark Duplass) who has a tryst with his friend’s (Emily Blunt) lesbian sister (Rosemary DeWitt) while mourning the loss of his brother, who used to date Blunt. Both films hit Netflix tomorrow.
On VOD, viewers can see what the fuss is about over “Frank,” aka “Michael Fassbender is a Rock Star in a Giant Paper Mache Head.” It’s joined by fellow Sundance hit “God Help the Girl,” directed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian fame, and Kelly Reichardt’s environmental extremist drama “Night Moves,” starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. All three films are available on iTunes and Google Play, while “Frank” and “Night Moves” are available on Amazon Instant.
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Nevertheless, even as “All Is Lost” expands Chandor’s range with a far more engaging and determined work, the true auteur of “All Is Lost” is Redford himself. As the camera hovers inches from his iconic blue eyes, the actor takes hold of the material and infuses it with a mortality that demands no explanatory dialogue. Getting close to the actor and watching him work, Redford delivers something we’ve never seen him do before by boiling down the essence of his career into a cavalcade of frantic looks. Read more.
Guy Lodge, HitFix
To be fair, the “Fassbender in a giant head” hook is a cute, blurb-friendly entry point into a film whose chief provocations and curiosities run far darker and deeper than that; what initially seems a high-concept goof-off becomes more humanly moving as the gimmick progresses, though “Frank’s” concessions to realism remain few and far between. It is, then, exactly the collaboration one might have expected from Abrahamson, the Irish humanist noted for such modestly scaled, emotionally rich character studies as “Garage” and “What Richard Did,” and Jon Ronson, the wonky Welsh humourist whose work last reached the screen in “The Men Who Stare at Goats” – if one were to imagine anything at all from those paired sensibilities.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The A.V. Club
“God Help The Girl” is, in other words, a spotty movie—sometimes silly, sometimes dead serious. It is, however, nobly spotty—inconsistent in a way contemporary productions rarely are, its shortcomings the result of an excess of creative energy, rather than a lack thereof. Visual gags—like a handsome man standing next to an identically posed and dressed mannequin, or two rail-thin indie rockers whipping off their thick-framed glasses in unison before a fistfight—abound. And Giles Nuttgens’ largely handheld camerawork often frames the characters from inquisitive, canted angles. Read more.
Kate Erbland, Film School Rejects
Unexpectedly prone to bursts of Goldblumian humor, it’s not an entirely serious outing, which makes its more wrenching reveals all the more powerful. At turns charming and subtly complex, Le Week-End is no grand affair to remember, but it’s a fine enough showcase for two winning talents and the sort of mature take on romance we don’t see nearly often enough. Read more.
Ian Buckwalter, The Atlantic
Effective evidence that the emotional immediacy in the halting rhythms of extemporaneous speech can often trump the art of the well-chosen word. A film that is both warmly and naturally funny as well as uncomfortable and awkward. Read more.